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tv   Book Discussion on JFK in the Senate  CSPAN  January 2, 2014 12:00am-1:16am EST

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>> for an extended link to various other publications 2013 notable book selections, is it booktv website. booktv.org. >> hello, i am with bill richardson, now an author of bill richardson. where did you come up with this title? >> we have some very bad people. people that they don't get along with and i relate to stories with these negotiations, most of them are successful on how you deal with a bad guy and how that relates to difficult negotiations at home with a
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spouse when you are negotiating to buy a car or a house or a brother or sister. so it is a how to deal with people saying and the essence is that you have to relate and you have to know where you end up with decency and you have to have a certain cultural scale. so the book is about a lot of negotiations as ambassador and governor. and sharks are not easy to deal with and it's important you relate to that chart to get what you want. and in my case, diplomacy is a political prisoner and i had a
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very good ghostwriter who is writing back there. and it is a good and fun read. i've been teaching and writing books and i'm giving speeches and people are paying me to give my boring speeches. >> never say never. i am happy doing what i'm doing. >> so how do you use humor when you approach this? >> you use this to make them at ease and they try to intimidate you. and there are times i look at someone about their reputation, and so i will say that where you
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cut all the fingernails off and they look at me and they either want to kill me or laugh. and generally you make them at ease. and they laugh at this. and that's what it's all about. >> how to sweet talk a shark is the name of his book. you're watching booktv on c-span2. >> next on booktv, john shaw accounts john kennedy's time in the u.s. senate. he was the junior senator from massachusetts. serving from 1953 until 1960, where he engaged in the debates of the day on during his presidency. this is about an hour and 15 minutes. [applause]
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>> it is so great to be around this table once again today. because we have had some wonderful breakfast with the ambassadors from all over the world. i think that in due course we will have a chance to visit with all in the conversations go beyond breakfasts and they continue on until everything going on in the world better interacts. congress, the administration, those in washington and those in leadership. i am excited about this idea, and of course, my friend john shaw has inspired me to have a new chapter in my life after the senate and continuing to think about the rest of the world and ways in which those that offer service might be more effective. and also more humane.
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the latest at the outset that this is an exciting day to talk about a new book about john f. kennedy. and his pathway to the presidency. and we were called this very short letter and you really have to understand that you have to want to do of full-time. as this book will illustrate and in the senate, we were ready to go and so everything was aligned
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in that respect. and we were very well part of this and the minority leaders in most cases, as opposed to the majority leaders in those days, they felt very conscientious about doing their duties in the senate and i felt the same way about making all the roll call votes and this includes two members of the senate and it is a different style. they have a forum for speech and
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they are taking time to write those as john kennedy certainly did. and likewise to have an instructional process in terms of foreign relations and i was delighted to learn from john's book that president kennedy was very eager to get into the foreign relations committee and it took him a while for his service and i think it was four years or so after he came into the senate or lyndon johnson had the power to make these appointments to put him on the foreign relations committee and that may be a good feeling and he was not spending time grinding out legislation, having these hearings, i presume, for almost every ambassador in the united states and all of those
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at the state department as we celebrated the foreign relations committee a couple of years ago. and they gave me an opportunity to point out this and by the time to process personnel, likewise all the very things that are occurring in the world. and this is not a preoccupation. and how this is because to be a great president and preparing to be a candidate because he had already had an experience prior to the one that he was nominated with and what she was almost the vice presidential nominee and he
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was, i suppose, instructed by what occurred during that time. and i don't want to tell his story before he talks about it today. but i'm excited about it. but it does offer and suggest a pathway to the presidency. historically only one other senator had gone directly to this. and we now have barack obama and i remember very well the first year that he came to the senate and he was faithful as a participant in our hearing and i was the chair at the time and we recognize the republican and
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republican democrats back and forth and he was the last one in the room and there was a two-hour hearing with the two of us. so i wanted to applaud him for his diligence in all of this. and after i made a complimentary remark in april or may of that year, is that i know you go to russia every year and i would like to go with you this year. and i was startled with his interest and i said okay, let's do that. and so the two of us went to russia in august. an afterthought as well and i visited this past year and they are well aware of everything
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else. including the individual that has been elevated to a new status. in this includes large pictures of barack obama taking look at missiles being shot in the process. and it was instructive. mark for him. but he was running for president. and he was not going to run for the secretary or chairman of the foreign relations committee. and i admired his ambition and he's an interesting person with whom we worked at that time and i mention all this because there can only be so many presidents were so many senators. and therefore john is offering this pathway and i'm hopeful that the book will be in print for a long time and i would say
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it is authentic from my own experience. this is a book that you need to read very early on in your career you want to be president. some people enjoy being members of the house or senate and have other aspirations and i enjoyed 36 wonderful years and still it is important as how the mechanics of government lead people to do great things and to take great risks on behalf of their country. and these include charges that people like you to see. and he has been part of this and
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foreign policy in this includes the diplomats at a well-known and he has always been on hand, i found, in the senate. and i can recall many days i wasn't trying to escape john shaw. and i'm certainly aware of him tracking down on that occasion. and likewise piecing this together bit by bit. each story. and likewise the book that he wrote is very generous. but nonetheless, we don't have to necessarily skip certain chapters. and so is as a matter of fact, he let me know that as well.
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and at the same time it leads me to believe that it is important to have great reporters around the great coverage of the senate. and it's important to the american people have this kind of coverage. and i appreciate the work that john shaw been on this as well as what he did as a gifted diplomat and gave a good idea of what happened for many of you in the room today, many of you who are ambassadors today. and this includes how effective you may be, what willday. and this includes how effective you may be, what will happen in the future. i'm confident that john kennedy is going to be successful and those who read it will be by
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this enormously. and this includes one individual in particular because i just had a great visit to the country and it probably originated because he has become a part of our institute and a roundtable discussion. and montenegrin is a country that is taking us. who really wants to have ties with this country after a referendum has been harvesting 2006. it is a country of enormous power and dedicated this with
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the largest american investments to date and we also had an opportunity to discuss nato membership respectively. both with the prime minister and we would like people to gather together and they were interested in august. they're questions that have to be determined by them as to whether they wish to have membership and very thoroughly they hope for a nato summit 2004 and that takes up the membership question. and this is a source of events that covered around this table and the senate foreign relations committee room for the rollout of our institute and a generous article about that and secretary
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john kerry and bob corker, who is my friend by my side for many years. these are people who are friends and yet at the same time, we need to talk to each other as well and cover the events and to understand the world in the context in which this is all occurring. it is my privilege to be with john on this great night. thank you so much. [applause] >> we think you and this is a kind introduction and that the senate was talking about, we're talking about foreign policy and we have a five-year project and we took a great week off and i went to indiana with him and spent 10 days in russia and the ukraine and it was a good trip.
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you have a good chance to write about the senator's career and accomplishments in one of the things he has done is left the senate. and this includes the internship programs he is working on. and i think there is a narrative about people who leave congress and become lobbyists and cash in. and we don't focus on that and not. so in this article i will focus on some of what we have done and that will be fun to do. and today what i'd like to talk about a senator john f. kennedy. there are some 40,000 books
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allegedly on jfk and you have to ask if there is a need for it another book on kennedy and i was the first threshold i had to cross. and i will explain to you why i thought it was and why i chose to write this book. and i wanted to describe what kind of senator that john f. kennedy was. and lastly wanted to go into a little bit more interesting realm and counterfactual analysis including the path that this might have taken and i will do that at the end of my remark. i was just at the end of the book and i did a lot of research and writing and i was in the final chapter and needed to put the career into context and understand how we fit in the course of senate history. so i had a meeting with the senate historian and they gave me some interesting things to read and think about.
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one of the things they suggested i look at was a report that john f. kennedy wrote in the 1950s, chairman of a special committee to determine the five best senators in american history. it was an interesting product and i will talk about it later. i'm not sure that it is such that they would even want to it like that. but kennedy was the one who was assigned to do it he did a wonderful job about what it means and i did that as well and we have is back story of how this worked and it was no surprise that there was a fair amount of political machinations to determine the five best senators in american history.
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as i said the book often my wife and i went on vacation in about the second day of vacation she went out and i was sitting by the chesapeake and i was thinking that i wonder if it might be possible to write a simple and narrow book on the kennedy committee, showing how kennedy was in charge of this project is the start of a project like this was interesting in the political machinations. and so i kind of sketched out a proposal and then i came home and i thought about it some more and i put together more and i contacted a wonderful individual we started talking about this and it might be a little bit broader and we talked some more and decided to write a book on jfk and his senate career. it turns out of these 40,000 books were so that are out there, there really isn't a book on kennedy's career.
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and then you say that i would like to think that i'm relatively intelligent. but i'm not that much smarter than anyone else. so how come no one else has gone down this path. and i think it is because there was a conventional wisdom about kennedy's career. and there was an inconsequential time and he didn't do much use this as a stepping stone and he was just passing through. and i think with a lot of conventional wisdom there is a lot of truth to it. i dove into the sub subject and it was much more interesting than that. particularly in the realm of foreign policy and foreign affairs and we cannot get too much of it. and this includes promoting the work of the institution of the senate and i think that the senate really changed him.
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when he arrived, he was just sort of regarded one house member not to be considered as a serious guy and eight years later had become the democratic nominee for president. and he became only the second leading senator to do that and it's very intriguing how he was able to make that pathway from the senate to the white house. and i think that this motto is something that barack obama looked at as well. but i like to describe to you to find ways five ways to think about john f. kennedy as a
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senator. he is a distant person company was not one of the boys and this is ted kennedy who is somewhat the exact opposite of senator rubio and this includes talking and joking and he was a patient person who loves the legislative process and loves to work at it. and i don't think that jfk had that same sort of mindset.
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and i'd like to does redo a couple sentences from a wonderful memo. a gentleman who wrote about political education. and he sketches some of the characters at that time and he describes jfk as elegant and casual in the back row with his knees against the desk. he was ultimately elusive, finding his way outside the chamber. including one that was impressive as well. he was regarded by them as something of a playboy and a dilettante. his record was modern and sometimes conservative especially on agricultural matters. and he was not a prime mover in
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the senate. only once did he seem to emerge as a leader and then he stood and shouted opposition and says that i scarcely recognize that and i believe that he was one who sings an irish ballad disappears before the dishwashing began. so he must have seen something that he worked for in an original personality and uninformed about national policy. they were friends and they respected one another and i like how he would allude this to the
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relationship because that was probably kennedy's most important relationship in the senate. he was a senate democrat and he had a pretty iron grip as well. and they are is a thick file of what he wrote to him, asking for a different committee to sign them. kennedy had the governmental affairs committee and desperately wanted off of this and is a backup on the finance committee. in this includes his time in the foreign relations committee and he was finally able to get on the committee in 1957 and the
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chairman asked him if he would be a subcommittee chairman and he said, do i actually have to hold a hearing. and apparently his answer was maybe one or two. and i think that is the number of hearing that he actually had. and he had a relationship that was striking and he had an easy way was his ideological opposite. so they had this almost locker room type of conversation relationship. and that one point kennedy was presiding in the senate was about ready to close down and
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kennedy was part of that and kennedy was talking and talking and kennedy was getting impatient and goldwater saw that. so we kept on talking and talking. and so this is where you always such a tweet and so he had this talk well into the night. but it sort of shows the jocular aspect in this includes a domestic policy senator. kennedy did not love domestic issues. and i liken it to history and
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something that he knew that he had this and yet removed this and henry cabot lodge was so interested that he was neglecting massachusetts and he said i would do more for massachusetts. and that was what he wanted to do. but thinking that was a poorly a vulnerability on that front. so when he was elected, he was a smart politician and the first thing he did was assemble a detailed economic plan for massachusetts and new england.
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and kennedy and his response in the senate and he turned us into dozens of bills and it shows that kennedy was smart and he needed to pay attention to the homefront and show that he was no means of massachusetts. and another thing would be the construction of the st. lawrence seaway. and this was the seaway that was
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part of the atlantic ocean to the great lakes and it had been discussed for a long time and all presidents were for it. but the new england senators thought that it would be harmful, said they so they opposed it. and kennedy had opposed it in the house and was not quite sure how to go. then he spent a lot of time thinking about it, reconsidering his opinion and he decides which his position and support this and he gave one of the most important speeches in his senate career. not that it will hurt massachusetts, but canada is ready to go forward with it and we should be on the ground floor to actually help this. this includes the seaway and reading some of the news
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accounts. but kennedy's support was considered a sort of pivotal issue or pivotal moment. and people decided that this would pass and also gotten some notice in the st. lawrence seaway was the first time that he knew he was going to run for president. perhaps with some political calculus in there as well. and in some ways i think it might be mal immigration now. but one of these dominant issues, kennedy had served on the house labor committee and he was on the senate labor committee as well. also on a high-profile committee
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as well. this was the one domestic issue that kennedy mastered and paul douglas was the same and who is not inclined to be complementary. and he was marveled at kennedy's ability to understand the complexes of the waiver legislation and kennedy got involved in this effort to pass the legislative reform and he passed a modest bill in the house and it went into negotiations with the house in a very different bill emerged. and it had the potential to be a serious policymaker.
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and what i like to say is that kennedy was for foreign policy. and i think that might be interesting to this group here. and he was also the assistance of kennedy, he couldn't get enough of foreign policy and i was just stunned at his features on foreign policy because they were part of it.
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and he was very clear in his own head, france was on a mission that would fail in china and vietnam and we were just seen as colonial occupiers were not going to win, the smartest thing would be just to cut their losses and get out. and this includes how a western power would not succeed in vietnam. and a lot of this and it is
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still puzzling about just how wide we were on vietnam and how this faded over the years. and he was looking looking more towards the white house and decided he needed to be a hawkish type of diet with what actually was behind this. but as he read his speeches, it is quite striking. and the french were angry and a
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lot of europeans were angry as well. and this is like general financial assistance. in exchange programs and this is sort of the over arching theme. including how the administration was reacted and he sort of moved
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his critique of the eisenhower foreign policy to gain visibility within the democratic party and that some of you may know, a half-century debate as to how much of the book he actually wrote and what was written about it with ted sorensen and others. probably about 5000 had been
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written about profiles encouraged. and there was enough institutional self-confidence and national self-confidence that they could do a project like that. and without apology and without expecting chuckles or the public to be a part of this, sort of rolling their eyes. and it was a project that lyndon johnson and he created the special committee that he was first chairman. and then he got involved in other legislative manners and
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there's a wonderful letter in the archives in which richard nixon was president of the senate and he writes a letter to john f. kennedy, formally naming him chairman of the senate committee to probe and study. and it was in some sense the one project that jfk wrote and was fully in charge of and he took it hard with the process in which they surveyed this a political scientist. and they invited us with leaders across the country and they also invited comments from the former presidents who were still living in this included herbert hoover. and that's the multiprocess letter to kennedy and hoover said that i really don't know enough about this and john calhoun, that's all i really have to say and he nominated 42
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senators for this position and he presided over a group of distinguished senators who were a part of the kennedy committee and in as the talks unfolded,
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they came up to agreement on the sides. and this includes john calhoun and henry clay and they read quickly on these things. and he wrote a letter that was
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actually part of it. and he projected forward and also style this as well. and her letters was trying to get the sense of things and there was this rising young star and also someone who is part of american history and whose
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brother was killed in world war ii and certainly by the time that he came through this, he would spend some time with that. and he narrated a film and he nominated adlai stevenson and
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this includes this promoting stevenson's campaign and he would be running for president four years later and it includes him about being vice president. if i spend four years, i certainly am talking about the nomination. and i think his four-year quest is interesting to look at. in part because it is very rare that a sitting senator would be in the white house like this. kennedy in 1960 and obama in
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2008. and i think kennedy had a shrewd sense of how to spend the launching pad for the presidency and i think the first insight was the windows of opportunities opening and closing quickly and you could be a hot commodity one day, but the real turns in a couple months or years later, he had a sense that he was hot after 56 and there was no one else would clearly be in line for it. so he had to be a part of that. and coming with it was a single-mindedness if he was fighting for a nomination and he had other competitive situations.
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it was a great moment in the 1960 campaign and so johnson started setting all his legislative achievements. and they are working on another one in 1960.
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and so kennedy says i want to say that lyndon johnson does a great job with foreign policy. and so in a certain way and a kabuki sort of way, he turned johnson's experience and it became almost a liability. and i think also that kennedy in a related way was very clear on the parral's of being a senate insider. and americans do not typically elect senate insiders as president.
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and so much and he was elected very narrowly in 1960 against richard nixon and what if he had lost and need to hunker down and run again in 1964. and people at that school sometimes cited whether or not in 1980 he was defeated. and then he decided that he wanted to put all of his energy
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and then he decided that he wanted to put all of his energy into being a great senator and he became one of the real dominant senators of the 20th century. and there is another scenario where as kennedy would have lived. and he had talked about that in a family gathering.
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detecting that he doesn't want to be this way. and it's interesting to think that perhaps kennedy might have after a certain period a time going back to the situation. and the one kind of thing is that this is a good thing, he wrote about john quincy adams and profiles of courage. and this includes after a certain period after leaving the white house. so that is something that we will never know.
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>> and i welcome your questions and comments. and we have unexamined territory. anyone who can't believe in this was part of american voting for the dc rights amendment. and we were the last living
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surviving and serving republican senator and senator hatch and senator bennet. and i found it interesting that if we republicans that were senators, and i have been told that and was unaware of that. they had one thing in common. coleman at you. so it is a belated thank you. john, thank you so much. 1956 was my year. and this is when tv didn't come on in the daytime. and i am from chicago and my grandmother said that john
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kennedy almost got nominated. and the other two candidates from the same state and kennedy said that it was part of the book and they hadn't even read it. because he would've been the running mate of his stevenson. because he sent christmas cards all the delegates. and i'm so glad that you mentioned that. and it is the very best in senator lugar hasn't read it, but it's really phenomenal. and so i'm so glad.
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and then he ran to be nominated as well.
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>> in the mccarthy years, it's very interesting. >> he did not. he was angered. and more broadly, it was a very complicated relationship because mccarthy was a family friend.
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he kept his distance and he was wary. and people would come up to him and say what you think about joe mccarthy and he would give very terse and give very terse answers. and ted sorensen in his memoir in 2008 addresses this in some detail. would have kennedy really wanted to go on the record, you could have called and he could've made arrangements and so sorensen's view made a political decision not to cast his vote. mccarthy also had some support
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and he was a complex food and kennedy was very careful in how you try to operate around him. and right now i don't remember all the details. and he introduced it and pushed it and he was a big champion of the city.
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[inaudible question] she was the minority leader in the senate and ramp it up and he was supposed to get the irony and they both walked. >> of years later, she was unraveled after that. >> other other questions or comments? >> and tip o'neill, tip was in the house. and what did you learn about
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this? >> i mean, it was an interesting time and kennedy was at the worst of his life at that point and people said that he was like a skeleton and he turned out to have addison's disease. and he had a low energy house member. the one thing he was was an incredible and incredibly interested politically interested individual and he briefly thought about running for the senate and he did something that the house members are not really knew new back then. he went home every weekend and went home on thursday night and he just combed massachusetts over and spend four years and it
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was a highway map and there were little pins and it really was the illness and the fact that he really then was looking for the next phase. and he was very interested in housing, which was a big issue in the aftermath of world war ii. and he was a very sharp critic of harry truman and foreign-policy issues and eight big debate onto lost china. and who lost china and kennedy went to the house floor and hammered the administration been
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so it was a liberal and domestic issue that had a hawkish foreign policy and he traveled a lot on his own dime's a lot of time when congress was in session. on one point he took a five-week trip to europe and he was well known and he was meeting with prime minister's and presidents and generals and all. it was an interesting and complex time and we would like to mention this is how the book is written there. but it is an intriguing face and faith and i would like to say one other point. when you read the memoirs of kennedy, he was not a natural politician. he was reserved and quiet and it was hard for him as well. he was not the sort of person to just go up to someone. at one point he said i'm the
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sort of person when i'm on a plane, but rather sit and read a book and talk to the person next to me. and he said i don't know if my personality is really right for politics. .. differential, quiet person the rim self into it, and he was going door-to-door. he was just relentless. in the thing about kennedy for all the advantages that he had with wealth and famous family, he now worked his opponent. he outworked in 1952. he worked humphrey and lyndon johnson in 1960. i mean, he was not a natural politician, but when he decided to run a race, he was a fiercely competitive, very tough, from the -- formidable back. >> a question. you mentioned a critique of
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defense policy in vietnam and the algerian and poland. and obviously what he had said about vietnam in algeria, how was that received in the u.s.? positioning himself for a presidential run? just curious as to how -- >> it was considered very controversial because the cold war was still in its intense phase and there was a sense that kennedy had sort of transcended what was appropriate. that there was -- there were several people is a committee should not come on the floor of the united states senate and criticize an ally. he actually gave his first speech -- i forget the exact date, but he ended up giving a very lengthy 11 week later saying, have gotten a lot of responses last week, and i feel like and the jury spine, first of all, why give that speech and also to respond to a little bit of the blow back and have gone. and then the kennedy files in
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boston there is this huge file on algeria. tons of mail from diplomats. and also, you know, american foreign policy establishment is said, you know, this is not an appropriate role for junior senator to be coming on the senate floor and, you know, dissing and allied. so was very controversial. >> i forgot one other subject matter which really does have something to do with his presidential term. it was considered going to slow in civil rights. he had dealings with seven committee chairmen who were holding up civil-rights. the 57 bill was a very weak bill. no wonder if you could talk about from mississippi, walter george, richard russell, and the difference making between his brother who served a short time in the senate and john kennedy, when bobby kennedy was on the
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judiciary committee, jim eastland had written a book, to seek a newer world. and bobby kennedy had written a book, to seek a newer world. said it is not too late. tell me, how was he on civil rights to rescue was criticized for not moving when he was president of civil-rights by virtue of the fact that he would lose the support of the south in 1964 and the seven committee chairmen. did he build up any relationships, personally with them where he could move these bills based upon his tenure in the senate with the same people? >> i think the short answer is that kennedy, if he felt like he was on the fence on civil rights in the senate. he thought it was an impossible issue politically because he was trying to era have a political base that included both conservatives and the south. it felt like he needed to win in the south to win the presidency,
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and he also needed liberals. and just, when you read about his senate years commencing slyke sort of almost a nonstop effort to just avoid getting pinned down, and it just -- and several people, paul douglas was very critical. paul douglas held regular meetings and civil-rights and dollars invited kennedy. kennedy declined to come. so it was a very, very politically controversial issue commanded seemed like he spent most of his energy trying to avoid getting pinned down on that. >> one short question. cold war history. but specifically on berlin crisis, strike me that, of course, soviet leaders actually considered kennedy 90's, not experience. so and in your findings did you
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find anything interesting, his opinions, soviet leaders. >> kennedy became one of the leading critics of president eisenhower and challenged as an hour on the right. eisenhower was too concerned with balanced budgets and trying to, you know, scaled-back the defense establishment. he cited what was then referred to as the missile gap and alleged gap between the u.s. and the soviet union. so kennedy, in his senate years, was very, very hawkish. and he actually was, you know, something of a conservative. and then when he went into the white house there was a sense that he is 42, 43 years old.
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his initial meetings with khrushchev were very, very tough i think he actually walked out of one meeting saying, you know, that's the hardest meeting never been at. he just dismantle me. so there is a sense of personal softness which, again, is somewhat ironic given this is that he was a war hero, incredibly disciplined, a tough person politically. but his early meetings with the soviets were not, you know, were not successful. they thought that he was weekend, but could, perhaps, pushed around. >> how would you say that president kennedy, say foreign policies, especially issues such as syria, such as, you know,s how would you say that president kennedy, say foreign policies, especially israel and palestine?
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>> yeah it's one of those questions that i think about a lot. the issues are so different. i do think that maybe the obama administration is perhaps indecisive and syria having sort of laid down new markers and not adhered to it. there might've been a sense that once you made a commitment you have to continue to honor it. it's so hard to really kind of extrapolate that. i think it would be unfair to kennedy and to obama if i were to say much more than that. >> what's the difference between the way -- >> just the worldviews.
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i do think the kennedy temperament was a lot like obama's. i really do. it was the same sort of analytical approach to problem-solving. he likes to hear people out and he likes to discuss. he also probably was not the most tightly organized manager. he had kind of a freewheeling white house operation. i think maybe his management style in some sense was the same but that's as far as i think i can go on that. >> could you describe which political goals developed during his times in the senate? as you just laid it out it seems to me and something that i read about kennedy, seems to me he made political decisions that he was an opportunistic politician who was trying to get to the
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white house. he never confronted joe mccarthy even though he could have. he made those decisions on china later in his presidency without really being decisive. he used a completely false accusation in the missile gap against the eisenhart administration which was completely unfounded. so it seems to me his presidency was just crisis driven. we had the bay of pigs. we had the cuban missile crisis, what were his genuine political goals? what do you think? >> well i mean that's one of the great questions. there was no doubt that there was a very very strongly political aspect to kennedy. he wanted the top job and probably wanted it without
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having a particularly clear agenda as to what he wanted to do with it apart from some of the most general defending the nation and so forth. one point on the missile gap because that's kind of interesting. there was a big debate and whether the united states had fallen behind the soviet union. you could argue that president kennedy was somewhat cynical but eisenhower appointed this high-profile commission in 1957 which came out with a very alarmist reports saying the united states have fallen behind. i think it was called the gaither report and kennedy sort of pounced on that. it helps further the narrative that he was arguing and to have this approval of the panel that president eisenhower had chosen. it gave him sort of an argument to advance but i don't dispute that there was a really hard political aspect and i don't know, you know, i think domestic
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policy, i do think he was committed to housing. he was a strong supporter of labor although not an uncritical one. i think there was a domestic agenda but he was careful and civil rights as i've mentioned and he was very lytic leah tunes there. i don't really feel like i am quite developed a coherent final few on what were the main political goals of john f. kennedy. maybe that will be the next book. but it's a great question, it really is and it's an important one. >> is there one more question? >> thank you so much for the great presentation. i have more of a general question. from your presentation it seems that jfk became a president through some kind of a predetermined path rather than any
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